Mark 7:1-15, Matthew 15:12-15, Mark 7:18-22, Matthew 15:20, Are your hands clean? (5/14/14)
The Chronological Gospel –
Miracles and Meanings
Mark 7:1-15, Matthew 15:12-15, Mark 7:18-22, Matthew 15:20, Are your hands clean?
Mark 7:24-25, Matthew 15:22b, Mark 7:26, Matthew 15:23-25, Mark 7:27-30, Jesus and the Syrophoenician woman
Mark 7:31-37, Matthew 15:30-31, Jesus heals in The Decapolis
Mark 8:1-8, Matthew 15:38, Feeding of the 4000 (The Decapolis)
Matthew 15:39-16:3, Mark 8:12, Pharisees ask for a sign (Galilee)
Mark 8:13-20, Matthew 16:11-12, Bread and yeast (on the Sea of Galilee)
Mark 8:22-26, A blind man healed (NE of the Sea of Galilee)
Mark 8:27-29, Matthew 16:17-20, Who do you say I am? (Caesarea Philippi)
More of The Chronological Gospel
Copyright information, disclaimers, and sponsors
Return to homepage
One of the time-consuming and difficult tasks undertaken by mothers is teaching little children to wash their hands. “Are your hands clean?” we ask. “Did you use soap?” “Did you use water
?” “Let me see them.” Sometimes we go so far as checking to see whether the hands, soap, sink, or towel are damp, or even – in extreme cases – sniffing the little hands to see if they still smell of Play Doh. We don’t want our kids to get sick because of dirty hands.
The Pharisees and scribes were every bit as concerned about clean hands as mothers are, but for a different reason. They didn’t actually care whether your hands were dirt-free, but rather they wanted to make sure your hands were ceremonially clean. They didn’t want you to get spiritually sick. A bunch of them came from Jerusalem to Galilee to find out what Jesus was teaching on this topic, and they were aghast at what they saw. Jesus told them in no uncertain terms that spiritual sickness is not caused by dirty hands. (Here's a brief discussion of clean vs. unclean
1-2 Then the Pharisees, with certain Scribes who had come from Jerusalem, came to Him in a body. They had noticed that some of His disciples were eating their food with ‘unclean’ (that is to say, unwashed) hands.
Mark 7:24-25, Matthew 15:22b, Mark 7:26, Matthew 15:23-25, Mark 7:27-30, Jesus and the Syrophoenician woman (5/15/14)
3-4 (For the Pharisees and all the Jews – being, as they are, zealous for the traditions of the Elders – never eat without first carefully washing their hands, and when they come from market they will not eat without bathing first; and they have a good many other customs which they have received traditionally and cling to, such as the rinsing of cups and pots and of bronze utensils, and the washing of beds.)
5 So the Pharisees and Scribes put the question to Him: “Why do your disciples transgress the traditions of the Elders, and eat their food with unclean hands?”
6-9 “Rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites,” He replied; “as it is written, “‘THIS PEOPLE HONOUR ME WITH THEIR LIPS, WHILE THEIR HEARTS ARE FAR AWAY FROM ME: BUT IDLE IS THEIR DEVOTION WHILE THEY LAY DOWN PRECEPTS WHICH ARE MERE HUMAN RULES.’ “You neglect God’s Commandment: you hold fast to men’s traditions.” “Praiseworthy indeed!” He added, “to set at nought God’s Commandment in order to observe your own traditions!
10-13 For Moses said, ‘HONOUR THY FATHER AND THY MOTHER’ and again, ‘HE WHO CURSES FATHER OR MOTHER, LET HIM DIE THE DEATH.’ But *you* say, ‘If a man says to his father or mother, It is a Korban (that is, a thing devoted to God), whatever it is, which otherwise you would have received from me – ‘ And so you no longer allow him to do anything for his father or mother, thus nullifying God’s precept by your tradition which you have handed down. And many things of that kind you do.”
14-15 Then Jesus called the people to Him again. “Listen to me, all of you,” He said, “and understand. There is nothing outside a man which entering him can make him unclean; but it is the things which come out of a man that make him unclean.”
12 Then His disciples came and said to Him, “Do you know that the Pharisees were greatly shocked when they heard those words?”
13-14 “Every plant,” He replied, “which my Heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up. Leave them alone. They are blind guides of the blind; and if a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into some pit.”
15 “Explain to us this figurative language,” said Peter.
18-19 “Have *you* also so little understanding?” He replied; “do you not understand that anything whatever that enters a man from outside cannot make him unclean, because it does not go into his heart, but into his stomach, and passes away ejected from him?” By these words Jesus pronounced all kinds of food clean.
20, 21-22, 20 “What comes out of a man,” He added, “that it is which makes him unclean. For from within, out of men’s hearts, their evil purposes proceed – fornication, theft, murder, adultery, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, reviling, pride, reckless folly: These are the things which defile the man; but eating with unwashed hands does not defile.”
Although I do remind you that what Jesus said is more important than when or where he said it, I have been paying more attention in this chronological study to where
Jesus was teaching. For someone who says that he was send to the “lost sheep of the house of Israel,” he seems to have spent quite a bit of time in Gentile areas. We saw before that he taught and healed in the Decapolis, or “Ten Cities,” across the Sea of Galilee, and now he’s going down to the coast, to the Gentile areas of Tyre and Sidon
(A3 and B3 on the map).
24 Then He rose and left that place and went into the neighborhood of Tyre and Sidon. Here He entered a house and wished no one to know it, but He could not escape observation.
Mark 7:31-37, Matthew 15:30-31, Jesus heals in The Decapolis (5/16/14)
25, 22b, 26 Forthwith a woman whose little daughter was possessed by a foul spirit heard of Him, and came and flung herself at His feet. and persistently cried out, “Sir, Son of David, pity me; my daughter is cruelly harassed by a demon.” She was a Gentile woman, a Syro-phoenician by nation: and again and again she begged Him to expel the demon from her daughter.
23 But He answered her not a word. Then the disciples interposed, and begged Him, saying, “Send her away because she keeps crying behind us.”
24 “I have only been sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel,” He replied.
25 Then she came and threw herself at His feet and entreated Him. “O Sir, help me,” she said.
27 “Let the children first eat all they want,” He said; “it is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.”
28 “True, Sir,” she replied, “and yet the dogs under the table eat the children’s scraps.”
29-30 “For those words of yours, go home,” He replied; “the demon has gone out of your daughter.” So she went home, and found the child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.
Yesterday I mentioned that I’ve been noticing where Jesus is more than I usually do. Tyre and Sidon (“Zidon” on our map), are northwest of the Sea of Galilee, down on the coast. The Ten Towns, or Decapolis
), are mostly to the east of the Sea of Galilee. Both are Gentile areas, which gives us new insight into vs. 31, “they gave glory to the God of Israel
.” Even though they were Gentiles, they recognized Jesus as a Jewish prophet and miracle-worker, a representative of the God of Israel.
Mark 8:1-8, Matthew 15:38, Feeding of the 4000 (The Decapolis) (5/19/14)
How often have I said that we need to read several verses before and after the bit that we’re interested in? Maybe I should take my own advice. This great miracle, the feeding of 4000 men plus women and children* apparently took place in the largely Gentile area of the Decapolis, or Ten Towns. Mark 7:31 and Matthew 15:21 put Jesus in Tyre and Sidon immediately before this event, and Matthew 16:13 puts him in Caesarea Philippi shortly after. Presumably many people in the crowd were Jews who followed Jesus everywhere, but many others just about had to be Greeks. Jesus may have been sent
to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, but he served
whoever happened to be around. We should, too.
* Not to be confused with another great miracle, the feeding of the 5000 men plus women and children.
Matthew 15:39-16:3, Mark 8:12, Pharisees ask for a sign (Galilee) (5/20/14)
Nobody seems to know for sure where Magada was located, although this does not keep people from having opinions. The location isn’t important. What is
important is that – after seeing or at least hearing about the feeding of the 5000, the feeding of the 4000, and the healing of the demoniac boy – the Pharisees asked for a sign. My suspicion is that if Jesus had given them their “sign in the sky,” they would have said, “Wrong color.” My own prayer is, “Lord, please don’t give me a sign, because I will ignore it, misinterpret it, or hate it!” Occasionally I get a sign anyway, which normally leads to work.
Mark 8:13-20, Matthew 16:11-12, Bread and yeast (on the Sea of Galilee) (5/21/14)
The prophet Isaiah died a long time before Jesus was born, but Jesus knew what Isaiah had to say because he had read the book, and he quoted Isaiah 6:9 to his disciples. I’ve got a lot of sympathy for the disciples, who were clueless, like me. Yesterday my family and I were talking about language. I said that the primary purpose of language is to learn how to do something by listening to somebody who watched another guy do it. The primary purpose of reading is to learn from somebody who figured something out, possibly a long time ago. I am less clueless than I used to be because of the brilliant commentaries I’ve read by John Wesley, Charles R. Erdman, William Barclay, Zane Hodges, and many others. Try reading a commentary on your favorite book of the Bible.
Mark 8:22-26, A blind man healed (NE of the Sea of Galilee) (5/22/14)
Quite a long time ago I read an article in Scientific American about how people learn to see if they are cured years after being born blind. I was fascinated that the results were so similar to this account from Mark, in that at first they didn’t understand what their eyes were reporting. For example, if they were shown the tire of a car and asked to draw it, they would draw a wheel with spokes, because they had previously known about bicycle tires through the sense of touch. They often had to touch things before they could see them correctly; in this case it is Jesus who does the touching.
Mark 8:27-29, Matthew 16:17-20, Who do you say I am? (Caesarea Philippi) (5/23/14)
Caesarea Philippi is in the far north of Palestine, about as far north as Tyre and Sidon, but east of the Jordan River. Possibly Dr. Daniel and I have the chronology out of order, because it would make more sense if this trip was a part of Jesus’ tour of the region of Tyre and Sidon that we read about last week, before he returned to the Sea of Galilee. (Remember that the Gospel writers weren’t necessarily concerned about reporting the exact chronological order of events.) Another possibility is that Jesus did a lot more walking around than we would be willing to do today!
Most translators translate the Greek of Matthew 16:19 incorrectly as will be prohibited/will be permitted
. The International Standard Version has it right:
“Matthew 16:19 I will give you the keys to the kingdom from heaven. Whatever you prohibit on earth will have been prohibited in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will have been permitted in heaven.”
Jesus is not saying that God will do whatever Peter wants, but rather that Peter will accurately report what God has already decided.
More of The Chronological Gospel
Birth Announcements and Early Lives of Jesus and John the Baptist
Early Ministries of Jesus and John the Baptist
Jesus’ Early Ministry
Jesus’ Galilean Ministry
The Sermon on the Mount
The Sermon on the Plain
John the Baptist
Signs and Parables
Miracles and Mission Trips
Bread of Life
Miracles and Meanings
Transfiguration and TeachingsTo Jerusalem for the Festival of Tabernacles
Some Results of Luke’s Research
More of Luke’s Research
On the Road Again
The Raising of Lazarus
Holy Week: Palm Sunday and Monday
Holy Week: Tuesday, Parables and Questions
Holy Week: Wednesday Part 1, Discussions
Holy Week: Wednesday Part 2, Be Ready!
Holy Week: Thursday Part 1,
Jesus' Celebration of the Passover
Holy Week: Thursday Part 2,
Jesus' Farewell Discourse
Holy Week: Friday Part 1,
Jesus' Arrest and Two Informal Trials
Holy Week: Friday Part 2,
Holy Week: Friday, Part 3, and Saturday, Jesus' Death and Burial
The Empty Tomb
Final Appearances of Jesus Prior to Pentecost
Copyright 2014 by Regina L. Hunter. All rights reserved. Scripture readings are from the Weymouth New Testament (1912); caps indicate quotations from the Old Testament. "Drawing Water" is from the Binns Family Bible, now in the private collection of Regina Hunter. This page has been prepared for the web site by RPB.
Opinions expressed on this page are solely those of the
author, Regina Hunter, and may or may not be shared by the sponsors or the
Bible-study participants. Thanks to the
Holy Spirit for any useful ideas presented here, and thanks to all the readers
for their support and enthusiasm. All
errors are, of course, the sole responsibility of the author.
St. John’s United Methodist Church,
2626 Arizona NE, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87110
St. John's Music Ministries now has a YouTube channel, bringing you free concerts and choral music. Check it out!
Traditional worship services are held Sundays at 8:15 and
11:00 a.m. in the sanctuary. Casual worship services are held Sundays at
9:30 a.m. in the Family Life Center.
are held monthly on the second Saturday at 5:00 p.m. in the sanctuary. St. John’s feels especially called to the worship of God and to the service of our neighbors through our music program
Storm Dragon SoftwareTM
Get a free demo of our computer adventure game, full of hidden-object puzzles, tiling and jigsaw puzzles, cycling puzzles, and more. Plus computer games that children can play all by themselves
Ducks in a Row, Inc., developers of
Keep It SafeTM
- Home inventory software so easy anybody
This website is supported in part by the generosity of Mrs. J. Jordan.